We have just received information this weekend through a ‘right to information’ application, that the Environment Mininstry has asked the Coal Ministry not to auction the Mahan coal block. This coal block has been at the center of our campaign to ensure forests and indigenous community rights are respected over coal mining. This fight has also put us at loggerheads with the current government and has had us face smear campaigns, be called ‘anti national’ and even had Greenpeace International put on a watch list with funds from GPI frozen.
This recommendation from the Ministry of Environment, vindicates our campaign and is testimony to the counter campaign we have fought in India to win back our legitimacy. This is indeed very good news for the people of Mahan and the fight the people of Mahan have fought on the ground. Today we heave a sigh of relief and hope that the coal ministry follows through on not auctioning the block.
Of course this doesn’t mean that the inviolate criteria is good or even that our forest work is winding down – we have some distance to travel before we have a moratorium on mining in forests of central India.
Though this is not yet fully in the bag – it will be when the coal ministry confirms that the will not auction this site – we are really close.
This is a fight almost every single one of us in Greenpeace India and with the support of many of you across the world has been a part of. Its the reason we believe we have the intelligence agencies after us and Priya has had her personal life thrown into disarray and freedoms challenged.
But more importantly what this means is that our stand is validated and our constant pressure for the state and company to do the right thing has paid off. This milestone is an achievement for each and every one of us, every one in Mahan Sangharsh Samiti (the ground movement) and with a lot of help from many many other people who have supported our work in different ways.
It would not be appropriate if I didn’t make a special mention here of the tireless and absolutely committed work of the ground team who have worked under extremely difficult and stressful conditions. They’ve faced mid night arrests, threats from local goons, been tracked constantly in Mahan but have campaigned and given us the strong ground presence required to win this fight.
As they say in Mahan….
Zindabad! – long live the revolution! 🙂
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